In the middle of September, I began running an after school club at a beautiful country school where the children spend a lot of time outdoors and love to create. Thinking about where we - human beings - have come from, our conservation art workshops commenced by drawing our closest living relatives; chimpanzees.
We share 98% DNA with our chimp cousins, have expressive faces like them and also have big toes and hands that can grasp. Chimpanzees laugh when playing, hug to show affection and can walk upright just like us. Hence, it's essential for young people to realise the significance of chimpanzees in nature, why they're endangered and ponder ways in which we can help with their conservation (https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/animals/general-animals/10-chimpanzee-facts/).
In the last four weeks, we've also covered how the Amazon rainforest is burning, some endangered species and climate change. Each week we've sketched and coloured in subjects of environmental concern, as well as having retrospective chats about topics covered in previous classes where the children's retention of information has been impressive. These kids are being nurtured to care and respect our planet and keep it healthy for future life on earth.
The children have produced stunning artwork so far, and our last workshop ended with some of them shouting gleefully that this was their favourite club. That was a lovely moment, particularly for me, and for the second week in a row, one little boy, who I find very funny, gave me the picture he'd been colouring in, as a gift. I asked him if he was sure that he wanted to give it to me and not his mummy, and he said, 'No, I want to give it to you!' It was so sweet, and I was grateful but will make sure his mummy gets his drawing next week instead.